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Fast Pair: Bluetooth Pairing Made Faster By Google

by | Nov 2, 2017 | Smartphones

Google unveils Fast Pair at perfect timing. Their current flagships, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, both lack a headphone jack. It only makes sense to introduce a seamless Bluetooth pairing for their users, especially since AirPods, once a frowned-upon Apple product, are fast becoming staples thanks to its easy wireless pairing.

In a blog post, Google explained how Fast Pair works:

“Ease of use, speed and security are the design principles driving the Fast Pair specification. Fast Pair uses BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) for advertising and discovery and uses classic Bluetooth for pairing.”

In simple, non-PR English, this means that Fast Pair is a superior process than your typical Bluetooth pairing, but that Google is still using Bluetooth so there are no guaranteed improvements with the connection. It just means that this pairing process is more efficient and better optimized. Phones that support Bluetooth 5 will feel a more significant boost, too.

To use Fast Pair:

  1. Turn on a Fast Pair-enabled device and put it in pairing mode.
    • Android scans for BLE broadcasts in close proximity of the user’s phone and discovers a Fast Pair packet (provided Bluetooth and Location are turned on).
    • This packet is sent to our servers to get back the device’s product image, product name and companion app (if there is one).
  2. The user receives a high priority notification asking them to “Tap to pair” to the device. The notification contains the product name and image.
  3. When the user taps on the notification, we use classic Bluetooth to establish a connection.
  4. A success notification is shown which contains a link to download the companion app (if there is one).

Fast Pair is supported on Android phones that run Marshmallow and later versions of the O.S. Users must also have the latest version of Google Play Services (11.7) installed. What’s great about the new pairing, too, is that you don’t need to fumble about Bluetooth settings anymore. Sure, NFC can achieve this too, easily, but not all phones have it. And anything that takes out a step or two off the typical process, I welcome with open arms.

Fast Pair is already supported by Google’s Pixel Buds, Libratone’s Q Adapt On-EAr, and Platronics Voyager 8200-series wireless headsets out of the box. More, I’m sure, will come soon. If you’re an accessory maker and want to take advantage of Fast Pair, register using this Google Form.

Source: Android Developers Blog / Photo: 9to5Google

 

About The Author

Armando Dela Cruz

Friendly neighborhood nerdboy, at your service. Follow me on Twitter: @armanddc.

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